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Helping a troubled teenager

(16 Posts)
Struthruth Wed 11-May-22 15:42:33

My grandson has just turned 16 and is going to live with his father, stepmum and two younger brothers. He has been a young carer for his mum who suffers mental health problem. She is moving away. She is a gentle soul but has been increasingly unable to exert any control over her son and feels she has done her bit.

This is a major change for the family. My son and his partner struggle with the younger boys they have and are worried they do not have the resources to cope with a teenager who has never had any boundaries. They want to make it work.

Last weekend my grandson went to London with friends but did not return to my sons that night and he did not know where he was. I understand he took ecstasy. He has previously smoked weed. His school is very supportive.

My son tends to lose his temper when faced with situations he can't cope with. He loves his son dearly but as yet does not have the experience or resources to cope with a troubled teenager.

I feel as if I am waiting for a car crash to happen.

Suggestions welcome.

Septimia Wed 11-May-22 16:32:52

I don't have any experience really, in this field, apart from bringing up my own son.

What comes first to mind is that it would be appropriate for your son and his wife to sit down with your grandson and negotiate boundaries. It might also help if they give him some responsibilities around the home.

paddyann54 Wed 11-May-22 16:46:26

Has your son left the childs upbringing to mother who depends on HIM for support?
Thats really not good enough,as for losing his temper maybe he needs to grow up .
He and his wife are the adults and they have to behave like adults.If they cant "cope" with two young children they haven't a hope in hell of coping with a teenager with issues.

Maybe they need to ask for help before they mess the whole thing up,none of us have training in parenthood but most of us manage to get through it without losing our temper at kids who need help not abuse .
Sorry if this isn't waht you want to hear but maybe the boy would be better off with someone els caring for him

BeEmerald Wed 11-May-22 16:51:01

That’s good advice from Septimia. Clear boundaries, a ton of patience, and realistically expect a rocky ride. Strictly no drugs in the house as there are younger children there, and responsibility for some chores. And a lot of love. When teenagers are behaving very badly they need loving the most. And this young man has obviously had a difficult start in life.

Hithere Wed 11-May-22 17:09:40

Your 16 yo GS has been set for failure by his parents, if I understand the original post correctly

A minor being a carer for his mentally ill mother - who made this decision? He is a growing young adult that needs guidance, not be a parent to his parent

Your son - how has he provided stability to his son?
Your son is also not able to cope with his younger kids - why?

Your son is not capable of parenting his son till he gets his parenting skills on track.

Is there anywhere else this gc can go?
This 16 year old doesn't need to be scolded for a situation he did not create

Elizabeth27 Wed 11-May-22 17:17:47

Your son may not have the experience or resources to cope but he is going to have to.

This poor boy has had to cope with his mother and has done it up to now. He was probably the adult in that relationship and maybe did not have much of a childhood or as stated boundaries .

This child needs love and support with outside help if possible.

Nannarose Wed 11-May-22 17:23:06

So sorry to hear this. Your DGS must be feeling very confused, and probably thinks his peers are better support than his family ATM.
BeEmerald's advice is excellent, but you may well find that in something this complex, some professional support is needed.

Although resources are limited, I would try investigating what services are available.
Counselling and support services for troubled adolescents have become a bit of a patchwork in recent years, so exactly who offers what services in the area needs finding out.

If your DGS is at school, college, or any kind of education, there will be someone there who knows what services are available. If not, try GP, or Young Mind.

I would add encouraging him in any interest he has, where he can spend time with people who are decent role models outside the family, and maybe do something that gives him a sense of achievement (he probably claims to be interested in nothing!)

I wish you luck, and please find someone who can support you as well.

Lizbethann55 Fri 13-May-22 00:07:09

I think Struthruth was asking for help, advice , suggestions and support. Not a lecture from the Usual Suspects. Septima , BeEnerald and Nanarose are worth reading and considering.

denbylover Fri 13-May-22 05:36:44


I think Struthruth was asking for help, advice , suggestions and support. Not a lecture from the Usual Suspects. Septima , BeEnerald and Nanarose are worth reading and considering.

My thoughts also Lizbethann55.
Another thought, could he come to you 1 or 2 weekends a month? It may well give his father and stepmum a breather especially if it’s been a trying week. This young lad needs boundaries (as already mentioned), a lot of patience as he settles into a new routine into a new home and lots of love. I would suggest trips to London, extras in general need to be earned and negotiated and not happen as of right. I do hope all those involved get to enjoy these precious years. Good luck.

BlueBelle Fri 13-May-22 05:43:41

This is very sad for the boy who obviously has turned to friends to become his family his mum who he’s looked after has ‘abandoned’ him perhaps he’s worrying about her are they in contact or has she just ‘gone’ ?
The dad and wife obviously don’t know how to parent him and are busy with their own two bundles of ‘joy’ 16 is really too too late to start . How much input has the dad had up to now?

Your grandson has had to be an adult and had no childhood by the sound of it your son cannot turn the clock back and expect him to be a ‘good boy’ he can however encourage him in anything he is interested in sport, music etc and become a mentor
This poor lad needs professional help but it sounds as if he’s found his niche in drugs his peers and so called fun what a difficult situation for you all How much contact and input have you had in the past with this young lad ? Is he in college school does he have an aspirations what’s his interests ?

This is not an accusational post I really feel for you and more so him but I m afraid you can’t shut the stable door his Dad will have a difficult journey and he and his wife really need professional help

Glorianny Fri 13-May-22 15:33:20

I read in your post criticism for a 16 year old who seems to have taken on an adult role but is now being blamed for being out of control.
Your GS has boundaries they are not the usual teenage boundaries because his life has not been the life of a usual teenager. He has been the main carer for his mother. Presumably his father just left him to it. Now the person he has cared for is moving away/ He must be relieved but devastated. One thing is certain you can't now treat this boy like a child, it's too late for that.
His father is just going to have to learn to negotiate and not lose his temper.
The boy may benefit from some counselling because of the damage he has suffered, being left to cope with a mother who wasn't well and now being left by her. He needs lots of care and love and for the huge responsibility he took on to be recognised. As for the staying out and drug taking he's probably trying to show he is just a normal teenager and to forget what he's been through.

Struthruth Sat 14-May-22 08:09:30

Thank you BeEmerald and Nannarose. I wrote my post when feeling great anxiety about grandson who I love dearly.
Things have moved on a little. GS has started to pop in with new girlfriend for chats. I am cooking shepherds pie for them both after their Eng Lang GCSE on Wednesday!

My son and his partner are seeking counselling support for what could be rocky times ahead. We are discussing guildlines and sanctions and preparing GS for a different family environment.

We want it to work, despite a troubled background, caring for his mum has given him a kindly nature and although he does stupid things we are now feeling a bit more positive and are taking appropriate steps. Thanks for support when I was feeling rather overwhelmed by the situation.

Chardy Sat 14-May-22 10:48:35

Is there an activity that father and son can do on their own? I've friends where dad and son go to watch football together. Or could they go fishing together? Cycling trips? Camping? Shared hobbies lead to non-judgemental conversations; and have the benefit that the younger sons can join in at some time in the future.

Chardy Sat 14-May-22 10:51:04


I think Struthruth was asking for help, advice , suggestions and support. Not a lecture from the Usual Suspects. Septima , BeEnerald and Nanarose are worth reading and considering.

As well as the person with the issue currently, there are grans out there learning to avoid these issues in the future.

BeEmerald Sat 14-May-22 11:23:34

Struthruth - I’m sure things will work out in the end. Your grandson is lucky to have a lovely caring gran like you batting on his side. Wishing you all every happiness, and calm waters after troubled.

JaneJudge Sat 14-May-22 11:28:37

Has he ever received support from a carers organisation?